Natalya Beatty

Natalya Beatty's daughter Rylee was rushed to Halifax for an emergency surgery, while her other young daughter was trapped in the lockdown zone during the police search the gunman responsible for shooting five RCMP officers on June 4. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A Moncton mother is happy to be home after being forced to rush her newborn daughter for an emergency surgery in Halifax, while her other daughter was stuck in the lockdown zone following the shooting of five RCMP officers in the city on June 4.

Natalya Beatty was at The Moncton Hospital when she heard that a gunman was on the loose and had been shooting at police officers.

"I didn't believe it at first, I just heard: there's a guy with a gun and he's killing cops," she recalls.

Her newborn daughter, who was born with gastroschisis — a birth defect which causes the intestines or colon to grow outside the body through a hole beside the belly button — was very sick.

Rylee was vomiting up all her food and rapidly losing weight. Doctors in Moncton sent her to Halifax's IWK Health Centre by helicopter.

The quick decision to send Rylee to Halifax for an emergency surgery meant Beatty had to leave her other daughter, Madelyn, in the lockdown zone with her father.

“As we were going in the cab, the only thing that I could think about was: I'm leaving my four-year-old, who is in lockdown in an area with somebody like that, leaving the province to go with my other child, who is about to have surgery, like, this is crazy. It was really overwhelming,” she said.

Beatty said she was in constant contact with her older daughter and wasn't able to sleep until she knew the shooter in Moncton had been arrested.

Meanwhile, Rylee's surgery was a success but she will require a feeding tube indefinitely to help her gain weight.

Beatty said she hopes to raise enough money to purchase a portable feeding tube for her baby.

She said that's something that will make Rylee's feedings easier and more flexible and help the whole family start to move forward.

There have been questions raised after Rylee, along with two other infants, were all born with the birth defect. The three mothers live within blocks of each other and gave birth in the last 16 months.

The birth defect is uncommon, but not rare, she said. It occurs in about one in every 10,000 babies, worldwide.